Viñales Returns to Podium at MotoGP Thailand
The MotoGP series finds itself in Asia, where the PTT Thailand Grand Prix took place this weekend (October 6, 2019) at Chang International Raceway. ENEOS-sponsored riders, Maverick Viñales started from second position on the grid and finished third for another podium, while Valentino Rossi ran strongly during the opening laps, but fell back two positions for an eight place finish.
From the start, Viñales gave up a position before Turn 1 to Marc Marquez, and with traction issues, had trouble keeping pace with the front of the field, no matter how hard he pushed. But Viñales never gave up; he decreased the gap to the front to 1.380-seconds at the end of the race and finished third.
“I’m happy, feeling positive and accept third place, but it’s not enough,” Viñales said. “We have to work harder and find ways to improve for Japan.”
Rossi dropped to tenth position in the first sector of lap 1 but managed to cut his way up to sixth place, passing Joan Mir with 22 laps remaining. However, with only 16 laps to go, he lost rear grip, which cost him two hard-earned positions as he was unable to maintain his early pace. Rossi did what he could to defend his eighth place position, crossing the line 19.162-seconds from first place.
“Unfortunately, the same problem always occurs with the rear tire,” Rossi said. “It looks like we have a lack of grip, so we stress the rear tire more and then it loses performance. We’re not living up to our true potential. We need to understand and improve this because we only have four more races left and we have to keep trying.”
With his third-place finish, Viñales moves up to fourth in the championship standings, two places ahead of Rossi, with 18 points between them. Yamaha is still third in the manufacturer standings, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is holding onto third in team classification.
Viñales and Rossi head to Japan’s famous Twin Ring Motegi circuit for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, taking place October 18-20, 2019.